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E-M:/ In Michigan false and misleading pesticide 'safety' claims are madeby State of Michigan employees while in New York....
- Subject: E-M:/ In Michigan false and misleading pesticide 'safety' claims are madeby State of Michigan employees while in New York....
- From: Praxis <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Mon, 21 Apr 2003 11:10:00 -0400
- Delivered-To: email@example.com
- Delivered-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
- List-Name: Enviro-Mich
- Reply-To: Praxis <email@example.com>
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Dear Ms. Birkholz and Mr. Sheen,
Safer schools, homes, workplaces, and farms can not be attained until State
of Michigan and University public employees end their role as pesticide apologists
and marketing agents and their daily repression and disparagement of safer
and more sustainable pesticide alternatives such as biological control.
2723 116th Ave.
Allegan, MI 49010 616-673-2793.
New York Sues Dow for Calling Dursban Safe
April 18, 2003
Dow Agrosciences is the target of legal action by the
state of New York for falsely advertising the pesticide Dursban as "safe."
In early April 2003, New York's state attorney announced that he will sue
the pesticide producing subsidiary of Dow Chemical Company for breaching
a 1994 agreement against false advertising.
The lawsuit, to be filed in the New York Supreme Court, will seek a court
order directing the company to stop deceptive advertising. The state is also
seeking monetary damages in the range of "tens of millions" of dollars. Dow
maintains that the charges are unwarranted.
Labels for Dursban continue to claim the safety of the product despite the
documented toxicity of its active ingredient, chlorpyrifos. Exposure to chlorpyrifos
can lead to a range of symptoms, including excessive salivation and tearing,
uncontrolled urination, weakness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches,
pinpoint pupils, confusion and dizziness. Tremors, convulsions or respiratory
paralysis may occur at higher doses, sometimes leading to coma and death.
These neurological effects of exposure are caused by the chemicals ability
to block the function of cholinesterase, an enzyme necessary for the proper
transmission of nerve impulses.
According to New York State Attorney Eliot Spitzer, the state's 1994 agreement
with Dow specified that the company was to stop making public claims that
Dursban was "safe." Spitzer notes that such unsubstantiated
safety claims are also prohibited by state and federal law.
Chlorpyrifos is a suspected endocrine disruptor, with potential to interfere
with the natural function of estrogen, androgen and thyroid hormones. There
are no data suggesting that chlorpyrifos is a human carcinogen or reproductive
Chlorpyrifos is an insecticide used on agricultural crops, livestock and
until very recently for home pest control as well (primarily as a termiticide
and in pet flea collars). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates
that about 20 million pounds of chlorpyrifos were applied in the U.S. in
the year 2000, about half for agricultural uses and half for residential
uses. Approximately half of all agricultural applications are in corn production.
Home use products containing chlorpyrifos are being phased out, with most
uses banned by the end of 2002. Some residential and other non-agricultural
use of chlorpyrifos will continue, including mosquito
control, outdoor areas where children's exposure is unlikely, and
container baits in homes. Agriculturally, the pesticide's use on apples and
grapes has been restricted and use on tomatoes was eliminated in 2000, but
many other uses continue.
Chlorpyrifos was also highlighted in a recent report from the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which measured chemicals in the blood
and urine of the U.S population. The CDC report documented metabolites of
the pesticide chlorpyrifos in study subjects, and found
particularly high levels of the chemical in children age 6-11 years
(PANUPS, February 14, 2003, http://www.panna.org/resources/panups/panup_20030214.dv.html).
In 1997, the New York State Attorney General filed a lawsuit against Monsanto
arguing that the company's advertising inaccurately portrayed Monsanto's
glyphosate-containing products (brand name Roundup) as safe and not causing
any harmful effects to people or the environment. As part of an out-of-court
settlement, Monsanto agreed to discontinue use of terms such as "biodegradable"
and "environmentally friendly" in all advertising of glyphosate-containing
products in New York state and paid US$50,000 toward the state's costs of
pursuing the case.
Sources: Press Release, New York Attorney General's Office "State to Sue Pesticide Manufacturer Over Misleading Ads:
Dow Chemical Co. Subsidiary to Renege on Earlier Agreement" April 2, 2003;
Reuters "NY sues Dow unit over pesticide advertising" April 4, 2003 http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/20371/story.htm
; PANUPS, January 10, 1997.
For more information on Chlorpyrifos, visit: http://www.panna.org/resources/documents/factsChlorpyrifos.dv.html